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tv   Telephone Scams  CSPAN  August 12, 2014 1:21pm-2:16pm EDT

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political posturing, so i'm not 100 percent sure what to make of this. >> host: okay, all right. mark, i'm going to leave it there because we are all out of time this morning. >> here's what's coming up. next, a congressional hearing looks at telephone scams aimed at seniors, then a discussion on domestic drone usage. and later from our q&a series, a talk with dr. alfredo question known yes, sir hinojosa. >> host: how did you come to the country ill healey, and then how did you become feel? >> guest: it's quite interesting. this cup was built upon -- this country was build upon people who have immigrated to this country, some of them legally, some of them illegally. in my case, i came in with no documentation and no ability to get a job or an education, so when i first came into the united states in the late '80s -- and i crossed the border between mexico and the united states, ended up coming
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into the san joaquin valley to work as a migrant farm worker. it was no challenge to find a job. there were not a lot of thousands of people trying to get the jobs of pulling weeds with these very same hands that are now doing brain surgery. i was pulling the weeds, and as you can imagine, pulling the weeds from the land that is doing all the products, cantaloupes, cauliflower, corn, all those kind of things, my hands were bloody, i mean, continuously being hurt. so there were not a lot of people lining up. er came in and asked for a job, and i immediately got a job. and then eventually, right around ronald reagan had the immigration reform that gave a working authorization specifically for people who had been in the united states for a certain amount of years, and then there was a special legislation for people who came and work as migrant farm workers. and that legislation allowed you to have a working authorization. that was the first thing.
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and to pay taxes. and eventually, that working authorization -- you couldn't go back anywhere. you couldn't go back to your country, but it allowed you to work legally, pay taxes and eventually apply for a green card. which is vergingly what i did. so -- eventually what i did. so the country was welcoming people like me who work in the fields. it was a different time, you know? and i felt that i was given an opportunity, an opportunity to live the american dream. >> join us later today when we'll show you our interview with dr. alfredo quinones hinojosa again in its entirety from our q&a program. it's one of the author interviews from our latest week, "sundays at eight." you can see the program today at 7 p.m. eastern here on c-span2. >> here are some of the highlights for this weekend:
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>> and let us know what you think about the programs you're watching. call us at 202-626-3400. or e-mail us at expects@ c-span.org -- comments@c-span.org k. like us on facebook, follow us on twitter. >> c-span2, providing live
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coverage of the u.s. senate floor proceedings and key public policy events. and every weekend booktv, now for 15 years the only television network devoted the nonfiction books and authors. c-span2, created by the cable tv industry and brought to you as a public service by your local cable or satellite provider. watch us in hd, like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. >> the senate aging committee recently looked into phone scams targeting seniors. the focus was on scammers who call pretending to be a family member or loved one to get the victim to wire money. americans lost over $73 million to phone scams last year according to the federal trade commission. ftc and fbi officials testify along with a phone scam victim. this is just under an hour. >> good afternoon.
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i've asked all of you to join the table insteaded of two panels because we have -- instead of two panels because we have a vote that is being called at around 2:20. so i want to take the advantage of going ahead and getting all of your testimony. this hearing is the latest in a series of investigations the committee has conducted on the devastating impact that fraud and scams have on senior citizens. over the last two years, we've explored the rise of jamaican lottery scams, tax refund schemes and social security and medicare fraud. so today we're going to examine what is now making a comeback in
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the scam world, and it's called the grandparent or emergency scam. it's quite despicable. it preys on a senior citizen's willingness to do anything to help a family member in trouble. for example, a scammer convinces the victim over the telephone that his or her grandchild or another relative is in jail, is in the hospital or stuck in a foreign country and needs money to get out of the predicament. and since the beginning of 2012, the federal trade commission has received more than 30,000 complaints about scammers who
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claim to be a friend or a family member in distress. and it's costing americans more than $42 million just since the beginning of '12. now, this doesn't tell the whole story. since a majority of these crimes go unreported. what we do know is that the ftc reports that imposter scams have doubled between 2009 and 2013. and so today we're going to hear from are a distinguished panel on what authorities are doing to detect and prosecute such crimes and how seniors can protect themselves. we're also going to hear about
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private industry's role in combating these scams. the bottom line is that the government alone cannot prevent these types of scams. private companies that sell prepaid debit products or offer wire services are the last line of defense for consumers before their money is sent and then it's lost forever. now, fortunately, some of these large retailers are beginning to take proactive steps to protect their customers. and in addition to issuing consumer warnings about scams, many companies are now training their employees to identify and warn potential victims. and we have some good news today from the greendot corporation. it makes a product that has been
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one of the cards of choice for many of these fraudsters in these schemes. we heard about it first in the jamaican lottery scam. green dot has announced plans to retire the moneypak card from store shelves nationwide. they've seen how this product has been used by the scammers and have decided to do the right thing, and that's to pull it. green dot, walmart and cvs submitted statements for today's hearing which will be a part of the record. and going forward, we will have these companies come and join in this committee to hear about their experience and their progress. we're going to continue to encourage other debit card companies and retailers to do the same proactive thing. so little by little, we're trying to give visibility to
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this fraud that's being perpetrated, particularly on our senior citizens. senator collins? >> thank you, mr. chairman, and i apologize for being a few minutes late. like you, i'm trying to balance a lot of different commitments. i want to thank you for calling this hearing to explore once again the dangers posed by con artists looking to swindle older americans out of their life savings. this is our seventh hearing on such scams, and i appreciate your maintaining the committee's focus be on this -- focus on this incredibly important topic. in fact, a great deal of what we have learned about these scams is a result of reports and
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complaints made to the committee's fraud hotline. today's hearing explores a form of impersonation scam that we've nicknamed the grand parent be scam -- grandparent scam. basically, it works like this: a scammer calls a potential victim and claims to be someone he is not who needs cash immediately because of an emergency. the scammer plays on the victim's emotions by claiming to be to a grandchild or another loved one. he says that he these money because he's been in an accident, his car's broken down, or he's stranded in a foreign country. i myself have received an e-mail version of this scam from someone purporting to be my neff i few -- nephew. and it sounded just like him, and he was overseas, supposedly had been robbed and needed money to fly back home.
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perhaps unsympathetically, i told him to go to the american embassy for help. [laughter] i then started thinking about it and called his father to see what was going on and found out that he was not, in fact, overseas. in many cases, the scammer asked the victim to send money in the fastest way possible which involves going to a local retailer, purchasing a prepaid debit card and giving the scammer the card to allow them to transfer value. once that money is transferred, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to trace. one maine grandparent was called by a person impersonating his grand son. he told my constituent that he'd gotten into a car accident in nicaragua and needed $1800 to
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pay back the rental car company, or he wouldn't be allowed to leave the cup. after -- leave the country. after my constituent withdrew the money from the account, this time they were pursuing criminal charges against him because someone had been injured in the accident, and he needed $4,000 to hire a lawyer right away. since my constituent thought that his grandson was traveling abroad for a wedding, he went to his bank again and withdrew $4,000 more from his savings. when the scammer pressed his luck and called back a third time asking for even more money, my constituent became suspicious and thought to ask him some simple questions that he wished that he'd asked from the start such as where were you born and who is your mother? it was only when the scammer couldn't answer those questions
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that this loving and trusting grandfather realized that he had been duped. fortunately, he was able to limit his losses because he hadn't yet released the code to transfer the money to nicaragua. another constituent, mrs. sandra yeager, got a call last fall from one who claimed to be her son. he said he'd been in a car accident, that it was his fault and he didn't have insurance. he asked for $1500 to pay off the other party, and mrs. yeager unfortunately did so using western union to wire the money. now, here's the point. when she realized that she had been scammed, she contacted everyone she could think of to report her case and to get help. local and state law enforcement, the fbi, but she was told there was nothing that they could do for her. as we have learned, these
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scammers are not only unscrupulous and aggressive, often calling potential victims dozens of times, but they are also technologically savvy. they know how to root their cause using voice over internet proto-- voiceover internet protocol which is very hard to trace, and they know how to spoof caller id to make it appear they are calling from a trusted source. another version of this impersonation scam might be called the tax man scam. in this version the con artist used a spoof caller id that represents a legitimate washington, d.c. phone number to contact taxpayers, and they claimed to be calling from the criminal investigative division of the irs. the scammer identifies himself as the investigation chief and tells the tax by year that he or she owes more than $5,000 in
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back taxings. well, to make a long story short, my staff actually spoke to a tax man scam artist as part of the committee's investigation. we suspect that the scammer who called himself steve parker was located outside the united states. but this scam so elaborate -- is so elaborate that the scammer was able to claim that he was calling from the federal investigative department at the irs, was able to give the correct address for irs headquarters here in washington and actually included a room number. but not surprisingly, that room number does not exist. within the irs building. mr. chairman, these scammers are a plague for all americans, but especially to our seniors. i thank you for continuing to shine a light on their appalling practices, and i look forward to hearing from our witnesses. >> and you notice a pattern here
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of all of these hearings that we've been having on scams that are perpetrated against senior citizens. >> absolutely. >> and this is just a diversion. and it's a particularly disrespectful one. first, we have a victim of a grandparent scam, and we respect using his full -- we aren't using his full name because he doesn't want the scammers to try to reconnect him. and we'll call him mr. w. he is accompanied today by one of his grandsons. next, kevin rupee, the vice president of policy and law at the u.s. telecom association. and then louis grace match,
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associate -- grace match, associate director of the federal trade commission's division of marketing practices in the bureau of consumer protection. ms. graceman. and then joseph campbell, the assistant director of the fbi's criminal investigative decision. division. mr. campbell, your written statement should be very specific on the grandparent scheme and other imposter phone scams. the fbi's web site has more information on these types of scams compared to the statement that you've submitted, so i would like in the questioning for you to provide additional details. now, because of the fact that we've got a vote coming up ask it's at 2:10, i'm going to hold you to five minutes so that we
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can get through everybody and get on in the questions. all right. mr. w., you're up. and if you would turn on your microphone. >> thank you, chairman nelson and ranking member collins, for the opportunity to tell my story before the senate special committee on aging. i am an 81-year-old grandparent from cincinnati, ohio. last december i i answered a phone call that sent my life into a tailspin and conned me out of $7,000. in what i now know was a phone scam. the caller had a young voice and said, grandpa, this is your favorite grand son. to to which i replied, i have six grandsons, and they're all hi favorites. [laughter] his reply was, well, this is your oldest grandson, to which i replied, ty, how are you? i can't remember exactly his reply, but it was something like
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i'm in jail, and i need your help to get me out of jail, and i don't want mom and dad to know about this. talk to this police officer. i can't remember the officer's name, but he said he stopped a car for speeding. the car contained four young men who were on their way to a football game. in a search of the vehicle, that are cottics were found. all four of the young men were arrested on narcotics changers. all four -- charges. all four denied knowledge of who the owner was, but ty had been the most cooperative, and all he needed was $3,000 cash to get out of jail. i told the police officer that i needed to go -- i was told by the police officer that i needed to go to walmart or cvs and load a total of $3,000 into green dot moneypak cards in thousand dollar denominations, and i
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needed cash to purchase the cards. i cashed a check for $3,000 at my bank and went to walmart and bought three moneypak cards, each loaded with $1,000. i returned home and called the police officer at the number with a 438 area code. the area code for montreal, canada can, and gave him the scratchoff number on the moneypak cards. later the police officer called again and said they needed an additional $4,000. however, my checking account would not cover that amount. my wife went to the bank and withdrew $4,000 from her savings account and went to walmart and loaded tour moneypak cards with $1,000 each. i told the officer the scratchoff numbers. subsequently, i received another call there him saying they needed another $2,500.
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at at this point my wife suggested we call ty's twin brother to see if he had seen him that day. dylan said he saw him before he went to work that morning. i called ty's cell phone, and he answered. he was at work. it became obvious that grandpa and grandma were victims of a scam. looking at the moneypak card, there was a warping that says in -- warning that says in small print, and i repeat, in small print. it says: if anyone else asks you for your moneypak number, your information from your receipt, it's a scam, and degree dot is not -- green dot is not responsible for paying you back. i believe putting that warning in such small print is unconscionable, and green dot, the maker of the moneypak cards, has some liability in as much as -- inasmuch as they profited
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there these transactions. i also belief that walmart has some responsibility in that it facilitated and profited from the t scam with the sale of these moneypak cards. i reported this scam to the since that thety police who didn't seem interested, i also contacted the federal bureau of investigations who referred me to the federal trade commission. but i'm not sure what they've been able to do about it. i have some suggestions about what prepaid debit card companies could do to protect consumers which i hope to to get into later on. thank you for listening to me and giving me this opportunity to testify. i'm happy to answer questions. >> thank you, mr. w.. you're very courageous to come and share this with us. mr. rupee? >> chairman nelson, reactioning member -- ranking member collins, members of the committee, thank you for giving me the opportunity to appear before you today. my name is kevin rupy, and i
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serve as vice president of law and policy at u.s. telecom. u.s. telecom and our member companies share the committee's concern about the problems associated with tone-based imposter -- phone-based imposter scams targeted at seniors. calls using voiceover internet protocol, or voip technology, when combined with caller id spoofing can be used by scammers to mask their identity and location, giving their target a false sense of confidence about who's calling. three important developments have occurred in the last year that could help address this issue. first, our member companies comet to work with -- continue to work with government and industry stakeholders to develop a more secure form of caller id authentication in order to more effectively address caller id spoofing. last summer the internet engineering task force, or ietf,
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created a formal working group focused on creating a secure caller id for calls. the revisited group has been working since then to achieve this goal. despite technological challenges, stakeholders within the ietf believe that a crypt graphic approach for voip can provide a much stronger and less spoofable assurance of identity than the legacy telephone network provides today. members of the ietf include representatives from industry including many u.s. telecom members and government, including the fcc's chief technologist. in may the group developed high level requirements for solutions, and less than two weeks ago it released a document outlining a mechanism for
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securely identifying origin nateers of voip -- originators of voip telephone calls. any solutions developed by this group will become most effective on a full transition to networks in a process that is well underway. second, u.s. telecom member companies and independent applicant developers -- application developers offer services today that can help older americans reduce unknown and potentially fraudulent calls. for example, consumers subscribing to verizon fios voice service can utilize a do not disturb feature which prevents system or all incoming calls to a customer's phone. it can be activated for set periods or left on indefinitely and also lets consumers establish an accepted callers
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list for up to ten numbers that will bypass these safeguards and allow the call to ring through. similar offerings are available from century link, at&t and others. in addition, third party services such as the ftc's robocall challenge winner may also be available to consumers. finally, our industry has ramped up a concerted, broad-based, public/private effort focused exclusively on the issue of telephony abuse within the existing framework of the messaging malware and mobile anti-abuse working group or ma mawg. participants include the ftc, the fbi, the department of homeland security and a broad range of industry members. the mawg's voice and telephony abuse group's sole focus is
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addressing abuse occurring over telephone networks. it was created to help protect telephony services from criminal activity and abuse by developing best practices, technologies and methods for mitigating phone-based attacks and scams. in closing, let me thank again the committee for holding this timely hearing. we share the committee's concerns. we look forward to our continued work together to address this constantly-evolving challenge. >> double your efforts, mr. rupy. ms. graceman. >> good afternoon, chairman nelson, ranking member collins and members of the committee. i appreciate the opportunity to appear before you on behalf of the federal trade commission to discuss the commission's role in combating telemarketing fraud. as we've heard, the injury inflicted by telemarketing fraud is well known. horror stories abound, the harm is not just economic, but
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emotional as well. to tackle phone fraud, the ftc uses a three-pronged strategy; law enforcement with our central and international counterparts, education and outreach and an initiative to spur technological innovation to develop tools that help consumers avoid unwanted calls and also help law enforcers track down the fraudsters. first, law enforcement and with a focus on imposter scams. each of us in our own lives relies upon trusted sources. 's that's the very thing scammers use and twist. impersonating someone trusted is more than a door opener, it's an invitation to come in and sit down. and when it's successful, people lose money, enormous amounts of money. as the testimony indicates during just the past two and a half years, consumers report having lost more than $200 million to imposter scams.
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not surprisingly, in more than 90% of the cases report of the complaints reported to the commission, consumers indicate that the initial contact was by the phone. halting such is impersonators is central to the commission's broad telemarketing enforcement program. one case we filed earlier this year typifies the work. defendants allegedly called people and falsely stated that a member of their family or friend had bought for them a medical device alert, and then they lied about whether they would have to pay for it. given the nature of such conduct and the fact that we see at least some telemarketers engaged imposter scam ises emanating out of canada and also out of jamaica, our criminal liaison unit has worked closely to prosecute perpetrators of phone scams through what's known as project colt and more recently,
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jolt. consumer education is an indispensable complement to law enforcement. the ftc has a wide range of materials directly relating to impostser frauds and alltel marketing scams. every year we reach out to tens of millions of people with those materials. i want to highlight pass it on. i know you've seen it before. it's our newest project, and we just launched this innovative initiative aimed specifically at older, active adults including veterans. based on research with a target audience, it gives older consumers critical information about scams so that they can pass it on to those who need it. and, of course, that information includes imposter scams and the all-too-common you've just won scam. we also went in a new direction this early 2012 when we partnered with the aarp foundation to afford one-to-one peer counseling to consumers over age 60 who complained about
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being the victim of certain types of frauds including imposter scams. the foundation's volunteers have provided advice and counsel to more than 1,000 people. finally, we've billion keenly focused on spurring -- we've been keeply focused with the convergence between our phone system and the internet as well as other technological developments, making fraudulent calls is cheaper than ever x because it's so easy for the scammers to the hide, the everybody forcement -- enforcement challenges are huge. in late 2012 by met those challenges with our own row bo call challenge which incentivized creating call-blocking platforms. i'm delighted to say that one of the winners already launched a new product for consumers that is successfully blocking up wanted calls. mr. rupy referred to it just moments ago. our second robocall challenge is taking place next month at the defcon conference in vegas where
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our contest will focus on phone honey pots, how to create them and use them to fight illegal calls. at the same time, the ftc has spearheaded a new working group of the london action plan international do not call forum to look specifically at caller id spoofing issues there an international perspective. in sum, the commission's commitment of tackling phone fraud through enforcement action, education and outreach and innovation is strong. as i've outlined, the commission also will continue to identify and pursue i innovative ways to protect consumers and engage federal, international and private industry members to do same. thank you for the opportunity, i look forward to your questions. >> host: thank you. mr. campbell, tell us how we put some of these people in jail. >> yes, sir. chairman nelson, ranking member collins and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to discuss the federal bureau of
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investigation's efforts to combat fraud against our nation's seniors. i am pleased to appear before the committee today to address this important issue. at the beginning of 2011, the first of our nation's baby boomers reached the age of 65. since then thousands a day are also reaching that milestone. they have many reasons to celebrate. senior citizens are most likely to have a nest egg,o open their own home -- to own their own home and to have excellent credit. unfortunately, these are also many of the same qualities which make them so attractive to con artists. as you may already be aware, the fbi participates in a number of working groups and task forces dedicated to combating significant frauds to include phone scams against our nation's citizens. for mortgage and health care fraud task forces to interagency groups such as the elder justice interagency working group, many
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of those resources are focused on preventing, detecting and combating those frauds which harm senior citizens. unfortunately, frauds are limited only to the imagination of those who commit such egregious crimes. internet and telephone fraud is defined as any illegal activity involving phone calls, web sites, chat rooms and/or e-mail. this fraud involves false communication of fraudulent representations to consumers. these crimes may include but are certainly not limited to advance fee schemes, lottery scams and identity theft. in one particular scam, the grandparent scam, scammers use scenarios that include claims of a relative being arrested or in a car accident in another country. these fraudsters often pose as the relative, create a sense of urgency and make a desperate plea for money to victims. it is not unusual for scammers to beg victims not to tell other
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family members about the situation. this is just one example. unfortunately, the variety of schemes is, again, limited only by imagination of the con artists who offer them. in our continues effort to combat the -- continued effort to combat the numerous fraudsters, the federal bureau of information and the national -- of investigation and the national white collar crime center established ic iii. the ic iii receives, develops and refers criminal complaints regarding the rapidly-expanding arena of cyber crime. the ic iii gives the victims of cyber crime a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authority of suspected criminal or civil violations. for law enforcement and regulatory agencies at the federal, state, local and international level, the ic iii provides a central referral mechanism for complaints. for law enforcement and regulatory a agencies at the
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federal, state, local and international level, the ic iii provides a central referral he can nhl for complaints involving internet-related crimes. as complaints are reported on line, the ic iii electronically compiles the data. trained analysts review and research each come -- complaint, deferring to the particular law enforcement agency for criminal, civil or administrative action as appropriate. i can assure you, it will also remain a priority objective of the ic iii to establish effective alliances with industry. such an alicense enables the ic iii to leverage the subject matter resources pivotal in identifying and in crafting an aggressive, proactive approach to combating the crime. in conclusion, as you have heard, fraud targeting our senior citizens exists in many
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forms, is creative in its approach and can off leave our most vulnerable citizens with little to no savings to end joy a time in life -- to enjoy a time in life they've earned. the fbi in partnership with our federal, state, local and regulatory partners is committed to identifying this threat where it exists and faking aggressive -- taking aggressive action and a response. chairman nelson and ranking member collins, i would like to thank you again for this opportunity to discuss the fbi's efforts to combat fraud against our nation's senior citizens. i am now happy to answer any questions that you may have. >> before i turn to senator collins, mr. campbell, the federal trade commission has a separate way to file complaints. it's called the consumer sental network. and -- sental do it seems to be a more expansive database. do you all use that? >> yes, that is correct that our
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two agencies do coordinate on the fraud information, and the ic iii data that we receive from potential victims is also fed into the can consumer sentinel database a so that we can all benefit there that information, analyze it, disseminate it as appropriate and develop the right strategies to target that criminal activity. >> have you put somebody in jail for this kind of trade? >> yes, we have. yes, yes, we have. for the grandparent scam, we had a case that, in fact, we have conducted with project colt as preferred to. that individual has been arrested. he pled guilty to one count of wire fraud, and that was an interagency investigation. ..
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senator collins? >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. campbell, i do appreciate the work that you were doing, but into we put in jail a lot of people who are committing these scams, we are not going to see real progress. the ftc told us that there were 127,000 posture scams last year
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alone. so how many of these cases were prosecuted? in response to the chairman, you mentioned just one case in 2012. how many? >> right. we don't track specific numbers regarding, say, a grandparent scam or particular individuals who have been targeted. but we have investigated a wide variety of individuals in regard to these types of fraud which have taken place. we have had a number of convictions related to those, and we are pursuing them. it certainly is a priority for us. as i noted in regard to the establishment of ic-3, to target this threat and to dedicate the resources that we can whether interagency partners against this threat. >> well, what worries me is what i'm hearing sounds very bureaucratic, it sounds like the
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are a lot of task force going on and there's a lot of discussion back and forth, but 127,000 scams last year alone, 9 million scams, various kinds reported to the ftc. 9 million cases like mr. w. where he, where trusting seniors lost thousands of dollars. and what i'm hearing from law enforcement is they are too small individually for us to bother with them. well, you can be sure that the person who ripped off mr. w. went on to rip off other people. that's just one case. he didn't rip off mr. w. and say, boy, i'm done now. i'm going to pack it up. and, in fact, we know from previous hearings that there are boiler room operations that do this with people having scripts.
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and i just think, as with the jamaican lottery scam where we got jamaica to change its laws and we started seeing a more aggressive prosecution in this country, that until that happens we are going to continue to see our seniors and others ripped off. so i'd like some statistics from you that show me that you're making this a priority, and that you consider these scams to be important, even if they are reported one by one a few thousand dollars or $2000 here, $2000 there. in the aggregate, it's a lot of money. and even, even for the individual where it may be what law enforcement considers to be a small amount of money, it can be devastating to their life savings.
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>> i certainly agree with you, and you used a key word there, aggregate. it's important that we do receive this information and the complaints. find them tied together, and them tied together, and that enables us been to effectively devote resources against that and work with the prosecutors at the state and local level as well. so we agree that this is a tragic circumstance, and all available resources should be dedicated to it and we're certainly committed to that. the more intelligence that we can receive, we encourage the public to report. the more it can help us be effective in regard to this targeting. reporting that you've got
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that you've got 9 million scams reported to the ftc, including 127,000 posture scans just last year. my time is expired. we've got others to question, but ms. greisman, for the record i'd like an answer from you on how often and how well law enforcement uses that wealth of data that you have collected at the ftc. if i could have it for the record. >> okay, we are honored to have senator murphy, join us. let me call on our committee member, senator casey. >> mr. chairman, thanks very much. i know have a limited time. i'll be brief. i want to get a sense of what works, because often around here as you may have detected from reading the newspaper, we don't pass a lot of substantial bills on a regular basis. so we often have to think of other ways to have an impact. because legislation takes a long time and there are other problems of getting it passed. so we have to try to use our staff, our resources, and a lot
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of them in state to make, to have an impact on a problem like this. in our office we have a website. i know other offices have similar strategies, and it's a website to provide older adults and family members with information and tips about scams or fraud of various kinds. i'm just going to ask roger, roger w., just from your own, kind of your own perspective and your own experience, what do you think works in terms, or i should say what kind of information would you hope would be available if you are on the website of an elected member of congress or any other information that families are not getting that they hope they would get? does that make -- >> i'm not sure. i already knew about this grandparent scam. then i became a victim of it. i read about it and i heard
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about it, but the way it was set up. when i was contacted i was in kind of, it's a family member who had been hospitalized. i thought his wife was calling when i received this call. normally i look at the caller id, and it was a 438 number i would just disregard it. but because i'm slow to get around, i was in the living room where we don't have a telephone and i got, by the time i got it was already the third ring, and the fourth when it stops working. so answered the phone without looking at the caller id. looking at the caller id is clearly one way of, if you look at the caller id and you see is not a number with which you're familiar are some of the things that this gentleman talked about, there's some possibilities. there's other things that are involved in this.
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there's moneypak cards but i'm glad to hear green dot is getting out of that business, but i'm sure there will be another, there's a market for some sure somebody will fill that market. i don't have a good answer for that, but i'm not sure, no disrespect to your website, but i don't think many senior citizens look at their senators website with any frequency. >> i guess we got to polar bear. but that's helpful. everything there's other ways we can put in place repented of strategies that would be helpful. and, of course, you can, over time, add your answer and send us written advice as well, so we appreciate that. i know we're limited on time, but ms. greisman, i wanted to add, we know that they do not already she has been -- do-not-call registry has been effective in a lot of ways. apparently in addition to what benefit we get from the
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do-not-call registry we know that consumers will often post comments that are associated with these kinds of fraudulent calls. they will post them on different message boards online and i'm just wondering if the ftc would consider, has considered creating some kind of a message board system or clearinghouse that kind of aggregates information about these kinds of fraudulent calls. anything -- maybe you spoke to this, but anything -- >> it's a fair question. we are constantly evaluating, reevaluating what to do with our complaint data and how best to utilize the data. it's widely available to law enforcement and law enforcement
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does use it extensively. we consider the consumer complaint we receive and we receive a great many relating to do not call in any given month we make it 270, 280,000 complaints relating to do not call or robocall's. we consider them nonpublic so we can't just put them out on the public record but that is a fair question that we will continue to evaluate. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator murphy. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you for generosity and allowing me to sit as part of this panel today. we have a string of these grandparent scam's in connecticut on our shoreline which is the reason i have some interest in this issue over the past several months. and i just want to ask one simple question knowing we are short on time and it is probably for mr. campbell and ms. greisman. that's about this issue that you get information from local enforcement. there's been some information compiled by this committee that suggests that local law enforcement often doesn't know where to report these scams when they get word of it and that are often are not reporting into the database, 9 million is a stunning number but imagine what
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the number is if local law enforcement were sending all the information. given the fact you are only prosecuting where you see volume, given your limited resources, it seems like an imperative to make sure that local law enforcement is communicating up the chain for these databases and the fbi, to the ftc when they get information about these scams. so what's the status and both of your opinion as to the flow of information from local law enforcement to the databases and the federal law enforcement, and what can we do to make it better? >> sure. well, this is an area that or years we worked at many levels to have that dialogue with law enforcement in regard to these scams. we work with associations like the iacp and so forth in regard to this issue. we also have what is now called operation wellspring which is
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coordinated out of the ic-3 and that involves passing these violations to our field offices across the country. the data is analyzed to determine if it can be investigated and prosecuted federally. and if not then that information is passed to our state and local officers for them to review and determine what action they can take. and that has increased that information sharing both ways. so we are working to promote the initiative more, to encourage that type of dialogue as well to drive together against this threat. >> yes, thank you. we work extensively with local police departments insurance offices to encourage them both to contribute data and also to use the sentinel system. and we engage in hands-on training for them as well so that they can access it in a smart and intelligently. >> i think we can do better. i appreciate those efforts.
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do you think industry can be involved in this as well if it's a matter of this in the information. it's in your interest to make sure all this information from local laws for tickets to the place in which a commit actionable and aggregated. so this seems to be a perfect example of a place where limited public resources can be paired with potentially more bountiful private reserves to make sure local law enforcement reports all of the relevant information. thank you very much, mr. chairman, for allowing me time. >> mr. rupy, what can a telephone company do to help a senior citizen when they call them and say they have been hammered? >> that is an excellent question, chairman, and that's something that the phone companies will work with the consumer based on the tools that they have. and also based on the specific situation at hand. so as an example, where a consumer reaches out to the
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phone company, complaining about perhaps calls that they are receiving, the phone company can work with that consumer to identify tools that may be available to that consumer so that they can either -- >> such as? you could have the technology that if a spoofed number comes up, that somehow it alerts the customer? >> that is, that is actually the ultimate goal of the s.t.i.e.r. that i was talking about in my oral and written testimony, mr. chairman, and essentially -- written testimony. the endgame of that technology is that you will have an authentication between the person being called and the calling party so that -- >> is that technology available today?

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